Nike and Tiger Woods have officially announced the end of their nearly three-decade partnership, marking a significant split between the sports brand and the iconic golfer. The decision comes amid Nike’s plan to cut $2 billion in costs over the next three years. Woods, who has been associated with Nike since his professional debut in 1996, wore Nike clothing on the golf course, with his iconic red shirt and the Nike swoosh becoming synonymous with Sunday afternoons in golf.
In a statement on social media, Woods expressed gratitude for the partnership, highlighting the incredible moments and memories shared over the 27 years. He acknowledged Phil Knight’s passion and vision, thanking Nike employees and fellow athletes. Woods has reportedly earned hundreds of millions of dollars through his association with Nike, with his most recent contract in 2013 fetching about $200 million.
Nike has been distancing itself from golf in recent years, discontinuing golf gear production in 2016. The Oregonian reported that Woods started using TaylorMade golf clubs after Nike stopped making their own. Following the split, TaylorMade is speculated to be a potential frontrunner for the next brand partnership for Woods.
Woods hinted at another chapter in his statement, suggesting a continued presence in the golfing world. The golf legend is expected to compete at The Genesis Invitational in February, an event he hosts annually to benefit his TGR Foundation supporting children’s education.
Woods’ initial deal with Nike in 1996 was worth $40 million over five years, setting a record for the richest endorsement deal for a professional athlete at that time. Subsequent contracts included a five-year deal in 2001 worth around $100 million and an eight-year deal in 2013 reportedly valued at about $200 million annually.
Nike released a statement acknowledging Woods’ impact on the sport and expressing gratitude for the challenges he brought to golf and the brand.